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The Police Helicopter is an aerial police vehicle used to aid local police forces during a pursuit. It appears regularly throughout the Need for Speed series.

Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit

The first appearance of a police helicopter in Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit can be seen on the Empire City track, hovering above two of the turns on the track. The helicopter is placed along the track purely for aesthetics and is incapable of performing any pursuit activities.

Need for Speed: High Stakes

A flying police helicopter first appeared in Need for Speed: High Stakes. It is capable of helping cops locate racers in the PC release. It was made available as a bonus vehicle in the PlayStation 1 release.

It would become unlocked once the player arrests 10 speeders with any version of the Lamborghini Diablo SV police car or with the cheat code "Whirly" but the cheat code would disable all saving of the player's progress.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2

The police helicopter in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 drops exploding barrels in a attempt to stop racers. The helicopter is capable of dropping spike belts hidden within the barrels and firing rockets at players in the PlayStation 2 release.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

The police helicopter appears at Heat Level 4 in Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The helicopter is capable of swooping down and blinding the player with dust whilst in open areas.

At Heat Level 5, the helicopter will try to ram the player off the road in open areas as well as keep the player in sight. The helicopter is also capable of keeping contact with the player during a pursuit at long range. The helicopter appears with a blue and white colour scheme.

The helicopter has a British aircraft registration despite the title being set in North America.

Need for Speed: Carbon

The helicopter can only be seen during cutscenes of Need for Speed: Carbon after the player is busted by the police during a pursuit.

Need for Speed: Undercover

The police helicopter in Need for Speed: Undercover will keep contact with the player if they evade pursuit units. The helicopter will attempt to disable the player by swooping down at Heat Levels 5 and 6 in the Sixth Generation console releases.

The model used in the PlayStation 3, PC, and Xbox 360 releases of the game is based on a different helicopter design compared to earlier releases, but the PlayStation 2 and Wii releases of the game feature the model present in Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Need for Speed: Carbon, although with a different texture.

Need for Speed: World

The Police Helicopter model could be found in initial released builds of Need for Speed: World, but the content associated with the mesh degenerated as later builds were released.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)

The helicopter can only be called in by SCPD units during Hot Pursuit and Interceptor events in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010), and is the "highest level of pursuit support" available.

The helicopter will drop spike strips to stop any racer ahead of the player. The helicopter can be upgraded in the same manner as other Equipment upon reaching a usage milestone.

  • Level I — A police helicopter will fly in to drop numerous level I spike strips ahead of any targeted racers in an attempt to stop them before returning to base for refueling. The Level I police helicopter features a black livery.
  • Level II — An upgraded police helicopter, with a blue and white livery, is deployed with an increased time-on-station and can pursue racers for a greater length of time. The Helicopter can also drop more level I spike strips.
  • Level III — The fully-upgraded police helicopter features a black and red livery with a much faster aerial pursuit speed and wider detection range. Its increased fuel and spike strip capacity allow it to drop numerous level II strips.

Jammers can be used to disable spike strips that a helicopter has dropped, and helicopters can be forced out of a pursuit if hit by an EMP.

Need for Speed: The Run

A civilian helicopter owned by the Mob appears in the "Death From Above" course of Stage 7 in Need for Speed: The Run. It is equipped with a Gatling gun and will fire on the player in an attempt to stop them.

Need for Speed: Rivals

The police helicopter can be called in by Redview County Police Department units anytime during pursuits.

The helicopter will help maintain visual contact with racers attempting to escape. The helicopter can be upgraded with a spotlight to illuminate and blind racers, as well as the ability to drop spike strips to prevent racers from escaping. Like all other Pursuit Tech in the game, the helicopter is upgraded via spending SpeedPoints.

Like in Hot Pursuit, spike strips dropped by the helicopter can be jammed with the jammer.


  • The helicopter can be found in game files of the PlayStation 2 demo of Need for Speed: Most Wanted, however, it has no texture files. A similar helicopter model can be seen in a cutscene featured in the final game.
  • In the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 releases of Need for Speed: Undercover, there are game file references to a second helicopter variant although there is no mesh or texture content.
  • The helicopter in Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Need for Speed: Carbon, and 'Need for Speed: World is evidently based on the Eurocopter Tiger, albeit with a fenestron-style tail rotor, and a shortened fuselage.
  • In Need for Speed: Most Wanted, colliding with the helicopter during a pursuit counts as trading paint with a police vehicle.
  • An alternative helicopter model appears in the final cutscene of Black Box's Most Wanted that resembles the Bell 206 Jet Ranger. It also sounds similar to its turboshaft engine.
  • In Need For Speed Undercover, the helicopter is most likely based off the Eurocopter HH-65 Dauphin, with a McDonnell Douglas 500's tail configuration.
  • In Need for Speed Rivals, the helicopter is most likely based off the Eurocopter EC135.


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